Long-Term Care Essay Example

LTC System Essay Example

Introduction

Although the long-term care (LTC) system has already gone through many changes, it can anticipate more changes in the future. In recent years, long-term care has begun to emerge as an important issue in the USA. As the dynamic continues to unfold, it is obvious that dealing with the challenges of long-term care will become one of the critical problems of the American society. The main task of policymakers is to develop an approach to long-term care that is efficient, affordable, and appropriate for the individual and family, and simultaneously, affordable and cost-effective for a society. New and improved medical treatments and technological developments could help to prevent, delay, or compensate for various types of functional difficulties. Moreover, health-related lifestyle changes, and environmental protection measures could markedly reduce rates of disabling diseases and injuries.

Major Challenges of the LTC System

The main challenge of the LTC system is its high costs. Most people cannot afford an expensive long-term care and treatment. There are many debates concerning this issue. However, the problem still exists. The federal and state governments try to provide people with affordable long-term care programs; however, they lack proficiency and need future development. In the coming decades, the demand for a long-term care will increase. Moreover, as the population ages, the nation will have more frail seniors who require functional assistance over a long period of time. As technology increases, medicine’s ability to keep those with trauma and degenerative diseases alive longer, the nation will have more young people with disabilities and chronic conditions who need a long-term care. As medical care moves steadily from the acute care, a hospital will become less dominant, and care for those residing at home and in community settings will expand.

Over the past recent years, the public face many challenges regarding the way how to provide and pay for a long-term care. The response affects millions of American retirees and disabled persons. According to the research, the U.S. has one of the most underdeveloped LTC systems among the developed countries. Furthermore, it had the lowest level of public funding for LTC services (Pratt, 2010). These challenges remain unset nowadays as well.

Unmet LTC Challenges and Future Opportunities

The research asserts that the main challenge of LTC is to develop an approach that is efficient, affordable, and appropriate for the individual and family, and simultaneously affordable and cost-effective for society. Almgren (2012) noted that the prime driver of future long-term care expenditures is a complex interaction between the steady growth of the aged population, the prevalence of disability in the aged population and the availability of potential supporters. The magnitude of public expenditures is further affected by the distribution of income, wealth, and long-term care insurance coverage among the disabled aged – as well as federal and state policies that determine the eligibility criteria for public long-term care subsidies. All of these factors make the forecasting of public expenditures for long-term care exceedingly uncertain. While the Government Accountability Office has predicted that long-term care expenditures could increase more than two-and-a-half times between 2000 and 2040, other predictions indicate that this number will be higher (Pratt, 2010). Such a growth in private expenditures for a long-term care would make it exceedingly difficult for most families to invest in higher education for their children or afford to save for retirement and other contingencies.

LTC managers have to realize the challenges, which remain unmet and which they are likely to face in the future.

Thus, the main issues that should be taken into consideration are as follows:

  • The increase in the number of persons in need of long-term care services
  • The types of long-term care services used
  • Availability of public and private sources for the payment of long-term care

How to Improve the Overall LTC System?

The factors mentioned above are, in turn, influenced by a large array of other factors, including future trends in old-age longevity and relative health, trends in family composition that determine the availability of resources for familial caregiving, technological innovations that may enhance the adaptive capacities of the elderly and disabled, innovations in long-term care delivery systems, and immigration and labor market policies (Almgren, 2012). The policymakers realize the need for more money that should be invested in the LTC system. New and improved medical treatments and technological developments could help to prevent, delay, or compensate for various types of functional difficulties. Moreover, health-related lifestyle changes and environmental protection measures could markedly reduce rates of disabling diseases and injuries.

In order to improve the overall LTC system, policymakers have to develop effective strategies. One strategy, favored by conservatives, which is an issue of debates now are to encourage the development of a long-term care insurance market and consumer (particularly middle-class consumer) incentives to purchase long-term care insurance. The second strategy, far more popular among progressives, favors the creation of a federally administered compulsory social insurance fund for long-term care expenditures – typically as enhanced version of Medicare. After discussing the viability of each of these approaches, in turn, a long-term care approach incorporated into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be considered, which, should it have been implemented instead of discarded, might have dramatically reshaped the financing of long-term care for at least next generations of Americans transitioning  to old age.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it should be mentioning that the overall LTC system needs more financing and reforms in order to protect people, especially retirees and disabled ones. Although the long-term care system has already gone through many changes, it can anticipate more changes in the future. In the coming decades, the demand for long-term care will increase. Moreover, as the population ages, the nation will have many more frail seniors who require functional assistance over a long period of time. If the policymakers would be able to develop an approach to long-term care that is efficient, affordable, and appropriate for the individual and family, and simultaneously affordable and cost-effective for society, the situation will be improved.

References

Almgren, G. R. (2012). Health care politics, policy and services: A social justice analysis. Springer Publishing Company.
Pratt, J. (2010). Long-term care: Managing across the continuum. 3rd ed. Jones and Bartlett Publishers.